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This modular 360 camera converts into a high-end Leica-backed action cam

When a scene is no longer interesting from every angle, Insta360’s latest camera simply transforms into a GoPro-like action camera — or a 1-inch-sensor Leica, if you prefer. Announced on January 7 during CES 2020, the Insta360 One R is a modular action camera system that allows users to switch lens-sensor modules and accessories.

The One R core houses the processor, LCD screen, and built-in mics and sits inside one half of the battery base. The other half houses the mods. At launch, the One R has the option for a Dual Lens 360 Mod for 360 5.7K footage, a 4K Wide Angle Mode for 60 frames per second, or a high-end, 1-inch-wide Angle Mod with a 1-inch camera sensor for 19-megapixel stills and 5.3K video. The 1-inch sensor mod, a sort of high-end action camera, was designed in collaboration with Leica.

The Insta 360 One R was selected by our editors as the best product in the Photography category at CES 2020. Check out more of our Top Tech of CES Award winners.
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The modular design answers a major pain point for 360 cameras — mainly, that few scenes are great enough to capture from every angle. Rather than crop from the dual lenses and lose resolution (which the 360 mod can still do, by the way, like the Insta360 One X), the One R simply switches out a mod for a single-lens camera that boosts quality over a crop. That allows users to switch between a 360 camera to one that rivals GoPro’s specs to a high-end action camera with an even larger sensor.

All three mods use Insta360’s FlowState stabilization algorithms, which the company says offers gimbal-like stabilization. The stabilization is powered by scene detection algorithms and a six-axis gyroscope to keep even the nonimmersive shots steady.

The software inside the processor unit is behind a handful of other features, including subject tracking and auto frame for 360 video. The first follows a subject around the immersive view, while auto frame uses artificial intelligence to suggest the most interesting parts of a 360 video.

A new Night Shot mode is designed for working with low light, while HDR and a one-touch color grading called Color Plus is also included. Hyperlapses now have a pose-detection algorithm to create stop motion effects, while a Starlapse mode for night timelapses is also built-in. Content-Aware editing automatically cuts and combines footage into a shareable video.

If the 360 and action camera combo isn’t enough, the camera can also mimic some drone-like shots using the company’s Invisible Selfie Stick algorithms that remove the selfie stick form the footage. And if you have a drone, an aerial mod accessory works similarly to take the drone out of the footage.

Along with the lens mods, the Insta360 One R can also swap out the base for a Boosted battery base, which has twice the battery size. An accessory shoe and USB-C port allow users to add accessories such as an external mic. Voice control is also included.

Of course, to compete as an action camera, the One R is also waterproof down to 16.4 feet on its own, while a Dive Case accessory is also available for deeper dives down to 197 feet.

Insta360 is even aiming to compete with GoPro on price. The One R with the Dual Lens 360 Mod and 4K Wide Angle Mod sells together, with the base, for about $480. The 1-Inch Edition sells for about $550, and the 4K Wide Angle Mod for $299. Along with the packages, mods and accessories will also be available individually. Orders begin Tuesday, January 7.

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